so. kim dotcom.
i have no opinion on whether he is a good guy or a bad guy. he is what he is. as for the criminal charges against him, i'm happy to leave that for the court to decide - as long as a fair process is used.
but what i do obect to is the fact that someone with bucket-loads of money is able to attempt to destabilise the nz government. i think that fact tends to get lost, because the object of his attention is the hugely unpopular john banks.
now i'll be the first one cheering when mr banks loses his ministerial warrants, and i'll be happier still when he's no longer an MP. in fact, it would please me immensely if he would retire from all public life, and we never had to hear from him via any of our media. i hate the ideas he holds, i hate the racism he so obviously displays and the contempt he displays towards people who are doing so well. no matter how imperfect those people might be, they are probably a degree better than mr banks.
regardless of all of that, we have a duly elected government in nz, and mr banks has put himself in a position where he is vulnerable, and because of the configuration of this parliament, the government is vulnerable. that simply shouldn't be allowed to happen, because i can think of plenty of situations where the outcome would be disastrous to nz.
even with the current scenario, we are now looking at the possibility of colin craig entering parliament on his platform. and the "no-asset-sales" policy is definitely not enough to compensate for some of the others. that mr key would start making positive noises about the conservative party means that a by-election is looking increasingly likely. but given that any small party or independent that wins the epsom electorate will hold the balance of power, what will that power mean for many of us nz'ers? those of us from minority religious groups for example. for reproductive rights, as another example.
so while i'd love to cheer mr dotcom on, i find that i can't. because i hate that he is able to do what he is doing - even though he didn't necessarily create the situation, more that he is just benfitting from it. any wrong-doing that may have occurred clearly is the responsibility of mr banks, aided by a law that doesn't seem to be doing what it was designed to do: prevent known donors to give "anonymously".
i think we have long come to the time where donations over a certain amount must be declared - ie that parties and candidates can not have anonymous donations. i'm not certain what the exact amount would be - i'd probably go for $10,000 for parties and mayoral candidates, and $5,000 for invidual MPs and city councillors. and there should be look-through provisions, so that any trusts would have to declare the source of donations as well, if it wasn't from their own business earnings.
it's the only way we can know who is paying for our democracy to function, and then we can come to our own conclusions about why they would be paying such amounts. transparency is essential to democracy. it's certainly essential to ensure that big money donors can't, at some later stage, threaten to out themselves in order to pressure the government, or for whatever other reason they might have.